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Having just attended Sony's press conference in New York City, Gamasutra news director Frank Cifaldi muses on what the system will mean to developers, and offers up five takeaways from Sony's next-gen plans.

Frank Cifaldi, Contributor

February 20, 2013

2 Min Read

Sony's unveiling of the PlayStation 4 has ended and, while we've still got a lot of questions before we tell you all to think about developing for it, the company did impress us with its initiatives to make game development -- and game discovery -- easier. Below are five key takeaways we're walking away with -- five potential reasons for developers to be excited by the PlayStation 4.

1. Accessible Architecture

We were all pleased to hear that the PlayStation 4's CPU will be X86-based. The platform maker notorious for inaccessible hardware has committed itself to a CPU that almost any PC game developer can jump right into, wih a GPU that is also PC-based (we're told it's an "enhanced PC GPU," whatever that means).

2. Powerful Tech

Sony is a using a lot of iPhone-like buzzwords about "simplicity" and how it "just works," but that extends to developers too. It's pumping 8GB of memory into the console, promising developers enough horsepower to have their way with the system and be less inhibited by limitations. Of course, we've heard that about every console ever released, but it's hard to deny that 8GB sounds like a great move. And the required hard drive doesn't hurt, either. Don't miss: The first details on the PlayStation 4

3. Smarter Discoverability

Discoverability is becoming a key concern for game developers, and Sony knows it. The company is hinting at a discovery system based more on social connectivity -- aka, what a player's connections are playing -- than on its traditional platform-controlled storefront. But more than that, its acquisition of Gaikai and its cloud streaming tech means that players will be able to broadcast and share their activity, meaning games with viral potential may be seen by more eyes than traditional marketing and store placement would put them in front of. "The goal is to make every game discoverable," Gaikai's David Perry said. Don't miss: How Sony's PlayStation 4 will leverage Gaikai's cloud

4. No More Demo Development?

Speaking of Gaikai, the company is promising that any PlayStation 4 game can be launched instantly over the cloud. In theory, this could free developers from the expense of having to ship a demo version of a game ever again. Why bother, when you've got servers delivering timed demos of the full game?

5. Keeping Old Games Alive

Gaikai's vision for what it's calling the PlayStation Cloud is to have "everything everywhere." Part of this initiative, it says, is to keep games from Sony's previous PlayStation consoles available to purchase over the cloud. It could be good news for rights holders out there who still have a back catalog worth exploring.

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2013

About the Author(s)

Frank Cifaldi

Contributor

Frank Cifaldi is a freelance writer and contributing news editor at Gamasutra. His past credentials include being senior editor at 1UP.com, editorial director and community manager for Turner Broadcasting's GameTap games-on-demand service, and a contributing author to publications that include Edge, Wired, Nintendo Official Magazine UK and GamesIndustry.biz, among others. He can be reached at [email protected].

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